As the American public becomes more health conscious (and less healthy), many people look for lifestyle adjustments that can improve health. One of the relatively simple changes proposed in recent years is a stand up desk.
The evidence that our sedentary lifestyle is at the root of many of our health problems is startling. A non-exhaustive list of ten facts related to sitting and standing includes the following pieces of information:
1. The body’s calorie burning ability drops to 1 per minute and electrical activity in the leg muscles shut off the moment you sit down.
2. Good cholesterol drops by 20% after just two hours of sitting down.
3. Men and women who sit for more than 23 hours a week are 64% more likely to die from heart disease.
4. A study published by the CDC found that sit to stand devices are an effective method to generate health benefits and combat the negative effects of sitting all day.
Life hacker cites a study from the University of Massachusetts that finds “If you sit for a full 24-hour period, you experience a 40 percent reduction in glucose uptake in insulin, which can eventually cause type 2 diabetes.”
This information is so dramatic that almost anyone would want to shift immediately to a stand up desk environment. Some corporate offices receive many requests for a stand up desk from employees who spend long hours sitting in their offices.
Before we run off to redesign office spaces to accommodate all stand up desks, though, let’s look at the downside. Standing for long hours isn’t great for health either. Some users report swelling around the ankles, and it’s possible to lose some sensation in toes. These issues are a result of blood pooling from long hours on one’s feet and is commonly associated with jobs like waitressing or nursing.
Chefs, also on their feet for a long time, know that they should vary how they are carrying their weight. Often while they are expertly moving knives over whatever is on that cutting board, they’re also shifting or rocking from foot to foot, even doing a little in-place jog. Those are folks whose moms obviously taught them to pat their heads and rub their tummies at the same time.
Short of reducing the hours at work, employees must take frequent breaks that include a little walk, even if it’s just to the drinking fountain. When “in place,” they must vary their positions regularly through the day, standing for some tasks and sitting for others. When standing, a stand up desk will probably make it easier to continue to work while it holds a laptop or other essential equipment.
Stand up desks, or sit-stand desks, are probably something important to think about and discuss in planning a corporate environment.
Contact us today to discuss stand up desks as well as sit-stand desks and other office trends oriented toward employee health and well-being.